The Colourful & Quirky Slots That Dominate The Casinos Of Camden & Beyond
15 October, 2019
In Camden, we are blessed, or cursed depending on your outlook with an abundance of casinos and gambling facilities. The Grosvenor, Hippodrome and many other land-based casinos are well within reach of the average Camden resident. Stereotypically we associate casinos with James Bond-style gamblers who go throw caution to the wind at the poker table. However, in reality, casino gambling and gambling, in general, are very different from these film and media portrayals.
The British gambling industry is a financial behemoth with annual revenues of £14.5 billion, driven mainly by online slots and the spinning, shining lights on the machines you’ll see in any land-based casino, rather than the table bets of tuxedo-clad impresarios.
Read on to find out how the least glamorous games are driving the profits of casinos in Camden and Britain in general.
Facts & Figures
As mentioned above, British gambling yields for the year 2017-2018 were published as £14.5 billion. That figure is made up of a myriad of different gambling activities, including sports betting, online casinos, bingo and national lotteries.
In terms of actual land-based casinos, the annual revenues for the same year were £859 million, an almost double-digit decrease on the previous year. That figure may seem small, but to put it into perspective, there are only 112 casinos in the United Kingdom, with just one large enough to be classified as a ‘super casino’.
Punto Banco and American Roulette are the two table games that contributed most to the revenues of these land-based casinos. Revenues for slot machines, which are reported separately to casino revenues came in at a staggering £1.8 billion for the same period.
This figure does include slot machines that are based outside of land-based casinos in betting shops and arcades, however, over 70% of these machines are reported to be inside the country’s 112 casinos.
To further highlight the profits and allure of slot machines, we must now look to the remote sector (online gambling). In the year 2017-2018, the online casino sector posted revenues of £3 billion, which was more than half of the total revenues of the entire online sector.
£2 billion of that figure was contributed by online slots, further demonstrating their popularity in the UK. Of all the sectors mentioned in the gambling commission’s annual report, land-based and online slots are the only ones with double-digit growth forecast for the coming years reports.
Why Are Slots So Popular?
There is no one reason behind the popularity of slot machines, rather their allure can be attributed to a range of factors. Firstly, unlike traditional casino table games, slots require no prior understanding, skill or knowledge, they can simply be played by the Layman.
This makes slots the first port of call for casual gamblers, who make up the bulk of players either in land-based venues or online. Secondly, slot machines stimulate the reward centre of our brain more than any other casino game.
The human brain is designed to release dopamine (a feel-good chemical) when certain, pleasurable activities are completed. This chemical release is hardwired into us from caveman days when the brain would produce dopamine to encourage us to eat, drink and procreate.
However, the reward centre can also be triggered by things like winning money, drinking alcohol or watching TV. Slot machines, unlike other gambling endeavours, reward their users with small, regular wins that help to stimulate the reward centre of their brains.
Thus, playing slot machines is more enjoyable than other casino games as it gives the player a warm, winning feel more frequently than say, poker or baccarat, which require huge levels of attention without the guaranteed promise of a win.
The last reason for the popularity of slots is that playing them is relaxing, especially when compared to other casino games. Players can disengage, and without thinking or worrying too much, simply enjoy the experience of playing a slot machine.
Why Is This Surprising?
Many of you reading now may well be surprised to have learned about the popularity of slots in land-based and online casinos. That these machines should be the backbone of every casino on the planet is certainly not something that is widely known outside of the gambling industry.
The reason for that is the portrayal of casinos in the public conscience, media, film and television. Gambling is almost always depicted in films and television in a glamorous way, with special focus on the drama and tension of high-stakes games like poker and craps.
These classic games are well-suited to the world of drama, as they naturally carry with them an element of tension and high-jinx. Games in which millions of pounds can be won on the final turn of a card are naturally going to lend themselves to dramatic screen portrayals.
Despite being vastly more popular and widely played than poker, slot games are never likely to feature in the latest James Bond film. Likewise, TV shows and newspaper articles are not going to follow the exploits of a ‘master slots player’, the games are simply not glamorous enough.
Because of their ‘cool’ allure, table games are frequently used as the basis of casino advertising games, as they are more likely to grab the attention of the public over slot machines.
Slots In Camden
The Hippodrome, The Grosvenor and Horizons are the three biggest casinos in Camden, each providing visitors with a huge selection of games from poker to baccarat and everything in between.
However, all three have huge slot machine facilities that vastly outweigh the number of table games on offer. In total, the combined number of slot machines in these three establishments is well over 300.
That may sound like a lot, but it is nothing when compared to the selection available to you on your mobile phone. Tens of thousands of slot games exist online, offered by a variety of different online providers.
These flashy, colourful games are the backbone of the gambling industry in Camden, London and Britain in general, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.